Halloween Horror Nights Orlando rounds out 2021 lineup with original houses, scare zones

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Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights 30 logo

The delayed 30th anniversary Halloween Horror Nights event dropped the final houses for the 2021 event and they’re all original.

Two of the houses from last year’s mini Halloween event, Puppet Theatre: Captive Audience and Revenge of the Tooth Fairy, are back for this year’s full events. The other four houses are as follows:

  • HHN Icons: Captured – This house will features Halloween Horror Nights icons from events past including Jack the Clown, the Storyteller, the Caretaker, Chance, the Usher, the Director, and others.
  • Welcome to SCarey: Horror in the Heartland – This house is set in Carey, OH where “unimaginable terrors, from horrifying creatures to bloodthirsty maniacs” run wild. Kind of vague but could be cool.
  • Case Files Unearthed: Legendary Truth – “Follow the trail of a private eye as an investigation into the supernatural leads you into a dark world of ghouls and terrifying creatures.” Another vague one.
  • The Wicked Growth: Realm of the Pumpkin – This house is based around a character called the Pumpkin Lord who goes stronger as more people practice Halloween traditions. They have minions that roam the countryside collecting “unwilling sacrifices.”
A teaser clip for the newly announced original houses.

And then there are the five scare zones. Here is the lineup of those:

  • Crypt TV – This scare zone will be in the San Francisco area and feature characters created by the company Crypt TV who specialize in short-form horror content, primarily released on YouTube. Some featured creatures will include The Look-See, the Sunny Family Cult, Harclaw, and Miss Annity. The company has made a HHN YouTube playlist to familiarize folks with the characters: youtu.be/wM1QdD6q8Kg This could be pretty cool.
  • 30 Years 30 Fears – This scare zone will feature “the monsters you’ve most dreaded from past Halloween Horror Nights.” It’s not clear yet what that’ll include, but a Child’s Play section has been set up in the park so it’s likely Chucky will likely be part of this zone.
  • Seek and Destroy – “A ruthless alien cyber regime led by The Controller has taken over New York, turning humans into fuel. Succumb or be destroyed.”
  • Gorewood Forest – “Sixteen years after the gory sacrifices of Terra Cruentus, the heartless Terra Queen is back. Evil is in her nature.” Terra Cruentus was one of two icon characters at Halloween Horror Nights 15 in 2005.
  • Lights Camera Hacktion: Eddie’s Revenge – “Get ready for the feel-bad movie of the year. Eddie Schmidt, Jack the Clown’s brother, is filming a horror film and the monsters are real.” Eddie was set to be the icon character of Halloween Horror Nights 11 in 2001 but was replaced by Jack after the September 11 attacks and the event was toned down. Eddie was originally meant to be Jack’s enemy, not his brother.

And finally there are the two shows. This year’s lagoon show is dubbed Marathon of Halloween Nightmare Fuel. The latter will feature fire, pyro, and aerial performers.

All in all, the offerings this year are bit disappointing. I get bringing back a lot of throwback characters for an anniversary year, but only having a few cool IP houses is a bit of a bummer, though the Haunting of Hill House and Beetlejuice will likely be awesome. Maybe as more is revealed some of the original offerings will seem cooler than they currently do and include some iconic horror characters. It definitely feels scaled back from the speculation maps circulating online for last year’s event.

That said, the real horror this year is Universal Orlando’s lack of safety protocols around COVID-19. Maybe things will change before the event starts but with as bad as things are now and the resort’s continued insistence on the honor system as far as vaccine status is concerned as well as refusing to reinstate a mask policy, that’s the thing that will keep us from the event. It’s truly a shame because we were really looking forward to getting back this year.

Teaser clip for HHN Icons Captured.